Two LGBT candidates lose Fulton election runoffs

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Two LGBT candidates – one seeking a Fulton judgeship, the other campaigning for a Georgia House seat – lost on Tuesday, as did all six candidates endorsed by the statewide LGBT equality group. 

The runoff loses for Gary Alembik and Valerie Vie capped a tough campaign season for gay candidates. Three other LGBT candidates lost in May primaries for state House races – Josh Noblitt, Rafer Johnson and Keith DeJesus.

Vie placed first in the crowded primary in May, besting five other candidates – including gay civic activist Johnson – for the District 62 seat in the Georgia House. But on Tuesday, Vie fell short and finished with fewer votes in the runoff (931) than she received in the primary (1,128) in Fulton. (The district includes portion of Fulton and Douglas counties.)

William Boddie increased his Fulton vote tally from the primary, receiving 1,737 votes on Tuesday compared to 1,027 in May. Overall, Boddie easily won the runoff 63.47% to 36.53%.

Had she won, Vie would have joined three other LGBT lawmakers in the state House next January during a session that's expected to be as anti-gay as the one earlier this year. That's when conservative religious lawmakers proposed a slew of anti-LGBT bills and a controversial “religious freedom” measure passed. House Bill 757 ignited a national controversy until Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed it in March.

Alembik faced Eric Dunaway for the seat of retiring Fulton Superior Court Judge Wendy Shoob. In May, Alembik placed second in the four-person race. But his vote total dropped from 16,160 in the primary to 15,088 on Tuesday, as did Dunaway's numbers – from 25,969 to 19,426. But it was still enough to give Dunaway the win with 56.28% of the vote to Alembik's 43.72%.

Had Alembik won, he would have become the second openly LGBT judge on the Fulton bench, joining Judge Jane Barwick. Fulton State Court Judge Jane Morrison, a lesbian who won the seat in 2012, ran unopposed for a second term.

Georgia Equality endorsed Vie and Alembik, along with four other LGBT-friendly candidates facing primary runoffs on Tuesday. All of those candidates also lost. By a slim eight votes, according to unofficial results from the Georgia Secretary of State's office, Dee Dawkins-Haigler lost her state Senate race in District 43 to Tonya Anderson. The vote totals were 50.05% (4,270) for Anderson and 49.95% (4,262) for Dawkins-Haigler.

Also, Sterling Eaves lost her Fulton judicial race to Belinda Edwards, Clint Rucker was defeated by Keith Gammage for Fulton Solicitor General, and Rudjard Hayes dropped his race for District Attorney in the Griffin Judicial Circuit.


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